Ok, just maybe the football gods aligned everything in the football universe for the BC Lions to break their seven game losing streak Friday night in Montreal. The Alouettes, pretty much as sure a thing at home as you can get, were not only without quarterback Anthony Calvillo, but they were giving young QB Chris Leak his first professional start. The Lions of course were a desperate team heading into Quebec and needed to take advantage of the missing Calvillo. Take advantage they did.
Of course Chris Leak wasn’t the only QB in the game under the microscope. BC’s Casey Printers was under pressure to get this offence going after a sputtering injury filled start to the year. Both QB’s struggled getting their teams going early, with the clubs exchanging field goals early. McCallum added a single and another field goal to make the score 7-3 until late in the half when Casey Printers connected on two big plays to Paris Jackson. He then went to Geroy Simon in the endzone for the touchdown with :34 seconds remaining in the half and the Lions led by 11 at the break.
Second half adjustments and production have been a problem for the Lions this season, and fans were left wondering how the team would fair when the emerged from the locker room. The quarter started off ominously as both Korey Banks (Dislocated finger) and Dante Marsh (Seperated shoulder) had to leave the game, and Leak had some success moving the ball in their absence. However, his promising drive would end badly as he threw a deep floater over the middle that gave safety Tad Crawford his first interception of the year. Crawford returned the ball 40 yards to midfield, but the Lions failed to get a first down, setting up a Paul McCallum punt. But the wily veteran kicker had other ideas as he pulled the ball down and ran 11 yards for a first down. That play would turn out to be huge, as Jamall Robertson rumbled the ball into the redzone with carries of 7 and 33 yards to set up a Printers touchdown pass to rookie Steven Black, who was making his first start for the Lions in place of the injured Darius Passsmore.
From there the wheels fell off for the Alouettes. Both teams would punt on their next possessions but the next time the Als touched the ball Leak was picked off by Korey Banks who had returned the the game. Travis Lulay replaced Casey Printers who left with a leg injury that was reported as “cramping”. His departure was “precautionary” with the big lead. The Lions started at the Montreal 31 yard line and Lulay hit Jamal Lee for a nice gain before handing off to Yonus Davis who ran the ball in for the score. On the Als next possession, Leak fumbled on a strange play where he caught his leg in the turf, stumbled and fumbled the ball into the arms of Banks who took it to the endzone to give the Lions a 35-3 lead just like that.
The Lions were dealt another injury blow in the 4th quarter when centre Dean Valli was rolled on from behind and suffered a broken right leg.
Overall the Lions offence looked creative and much more aggressive than in past weeks. Steven Black had a nice game, and leader like Simon, Jackson, Printers, Banks stepped up to set the tone. The addition of Joe McGrath at right tackle seemed to help stabilize the offensive line, which will see another change next week with Reid plugging in for Valli and the possible addition of Jesse Newman that the club announced Saturday.
Casey Printers finished the game 14/28 passing for 235 yards 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Lions were also more successful on the ground with Jamal Robertson pounding out 63 yards and Jerome Messam getting three late touches for 26.
- The Lions announced the acquisition of non-import offensive lineman Jesse Newman from the Calgary Stampeders today. The club will give up a 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft and a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft. Newman should be a welcome addition to the offensive line, and is also a native of BC.
- Initial reports from Dante Marsh, according to The Provinces Lowell Ullrich yesterday indicate that Marsh says he’ll be ready to play next week after separating his shoulder Friday.
- Lions 2nd round pick and recent Green Bay Packers cut Shawn Gore was in the crowd watching his potential future teammates. The two sides are rumoured to be making progress on a contract for the young Canadian receiver who was at the game to catch up with Jamal Lee, James Yurichuk and Dan McCullough.
- Martell Mallett, Ricky Foley, Stefan Logan were all released by their respective NFL teams, and all are hoping to either be picked up or offered practice roster spots. Former Saskatchewan Roughrider DL Stevie Baggs was also released by the Arizona Cardinals, and like the former Lions is awaiting word on waivers and a possible PR spot.